As the summer heat rolls in, it’s essential for pet owners to take proactive steps in ensuring the well-being of their furry friends. Just like humans, pets can also suffer from heat-related illnesses and discomfort. As the days get hotter, veterinary surgeon Dr. Nick Horniman MRCVS and the team of experts behind www.mypetsvet.co.uk have provided eight valuable tips to help you keep your cats, dogs and other pets cool and safe during the scorching summer months.
Provide lots of fresh water
Hydration is crucial for all pets, particularly during hot weather. Make sure your pets have constant access to clean, fresh water. Check their water bowls frequently and refill them as needed to prevent dehydration. Consider placing multiple water sources throughout your home, especially in outdoor areas where your pets spend time.
Create a cool indoor environment
Keeping your pets indoors during the hottest parts of the day can significantly reduce their risk of overheating. Ensure that your home is cool and well-ventilated by using fans or air conditioning. Provide shady areas for your pets to rest and relax away from direct sunlight. You can also use cooling mats or beds specifically designed to dissipate heat and provide comfort.
Never leave pets in parked cars
It is a huge and potentially life-threatening mistake to leave your pets inside a parked car during the summer, even for a short duration. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, even with the windows cracked open. This can lead to heatstroke which can be fatal. Always prioritise your pet’s safety and leave them at home if you need to run errands.
Limit outdoor activities
While it’s important to ensure your pets get exercise, it’s crucial to be mindful of outdoor activities during hot weather. Avoid vigorous exercise during peak heat hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Instead, schedule walks or playtime during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Remember to keep an eye on your pet for signs of fatigue or overheating and allow them to rest when needed.
Provide cooling options outside of your home
Help your pets beat the heat by providing various cooling options. For dogs, consider setting up a small kiddie pool filled with cool water in a shaded area of your garden where they can splash around and cool off as needed. Cats and smaller pets might enjoy a shallow dish of water or a chilled towel to lie on. Freeze pet-safe toys or treats for added entertainment and cooling benefits.
Grooming and coat care
Proper grooming plays a vital role in helping pets stay cool during the summer. Regular brushing removes loose fur and prevents matting, allowing better airflow to the skin. However, avoid shaving your pets’ coats too short, as fur provides protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Consult with a professional groomer or your local vet for breed-specific grooming tips.
Protect paws from hot surfaces
Hot pavement and asphalt can burn your pet’s paws, causing pain and discomfort. Before heading out for a walk, check the temperature of the ground by placing the back of your hand on it for a few seconds. If it feels too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Opt for walking on grassy areas or invest in pet booties to shield their paws from scorching surfaces.
Monitor for signs of heatstroke
Understanding the signs of heatstroke is crucial for early intervention. Common symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and collapsing. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat-related illness, immediately move them to a cool area, offer water, and contact your vet for further guidance.